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Does my club have to have an SLO?
UEFA requires that at least the clubs that play in its competitions (the Champions League and the Europe League) have an SLO. Most National Associations extend this criteria to all top tier clubs while others go even further and require a SLO from all clubs up to the 4th tier.
So, if your club applies for a licence to play in a UEFA competition then it does have to have an SLO. As of January 2017 it is also a Scottish FA licensing requirement for Silver and Gold clubs to have an appointed SLO. You can check our list of known SLOs to see who your club’s SLO is here.
How is the SLO selected?
Responsibility for selecting the supporter liaison officer lies with the club management.
• Where possible, the supporter liaison officer should be appointed from among the fans.
• The supporter liaison officer should be in regular contact with fans and enjoy their respect and acceptance based on his or her personality and aptitude.
• Where possible, the supporter liaison officer should be given appropriate training, for example in the areas of communication, people management and conflict resolution. The provision of basic psychology and sociology skills, in particular with regard to group dynamics, is desirable.
How can I become a SLO?
You should contact your club, as there is no set procedure for appointing an SLO. Often, suitable candidates will “suggest themselves” as they will have been involved in dealing with their club for several years. Some clubs may advertise the post, some will make an appointment after consulting with the main supporter groups, while others will appoint direct as they would for any other position.
How do I contact the SLO of another club?
Our recommendation is that the contact details of the SLOs are publicly available on the club’s website. If you can’t find them, you can ask for help from the relevant national football association/league or send an email to sdsinfo [at] supporters-direct.coop.
Should the SLO be a genuine supporter or an existing staff member?
It is down to the club to decide who they appoint as the SLO. Some will decide to appoint an existing member of staff, others will choose someone from the fan base. Whoever fulfils the role, it is important that they understand the needs and wants of supporters. SD Europe take the view that supporters have an expertise and knowledge of supporter issues that is not ordinarily available on the marketplace and this is why we recommend the appointment of a genuine supporter for the role.
What is the profile of a good SLO?
Credibility is the key attribute. The SLO must establish relations and have the trust of the various stakeholders, such as the club, the fans, safety officers and stewards, and the police. They should be independent of the club board and ideally not hold any positions in a supporter organisation once appointed. The three main areas of work where they should be competent are: dialogue (managing the flow of communications between fans and the club and other stakeholders), service (assisting and advising fans and clubs etc.), and prevention (liaising with safety officers, police and stewards to minimise conflict).
How do SLOs work with supporters’ organisations – are they a threat to the relationship of my trust/supporters club/ultra group with the club?
The role of the SLO is to facilitate dialogue, not lead it. SLOs should work with all supporter groups as well as individual fans. SLOs should not pose a threat to any supporter group. On the contrary, they exist to improve the dialogue and relationships between fans and clubs, and supporter groups should actively consider putting forward one of their members for the role. SLOs are employed/appointed by the club and are not supporter representatives.